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Here's how to keep your veggies fresher, longer

I'm a cynic. A skeptic. I'm just hard-wired that way. There are a lot of products that claim to keep your produce fresher longer. And, I actually use three different products in concert. The theory is 'the whole is greater than the sum of the parts'. I can't remember the last time I removed slimy, disgusting produce from my fridge. Good inventory management helps, but we all get busy and miss stuff. It happens - except when you're using the right products in the right way, consistently.

The first product: The Polar Fresh refrigerator filter. I have a few friends who are in the restaurant business, and having been in their walk-in coolers, I asked how they keep their expensive produce fresh. This small filter is the home version of the type used in commercial walk-ins. I've used them for years. I keep one on the top shelf of the fridge, toward the back at all times. And, a spare or two on hand. Swap 'em out about every 6-8 months. Nevada readers: This company - Humidity Control Systems - is based in Carson City, NV. Ain't that neat?

These filters contain an all-natural mineral that reduces excess moisture and absorbs ethylene gas, which hastens the ripening of food. But when there's too much of this gas, over a long period of time, then it will also hasten 'rot'. It's a good thing and a bad thing. All of the products designed to preserve fruits and vegetables in your fridge control ethylene gas in some manner.

Next up: Those little packets in the Blue Apple. Back in the day, I bought the whole Blue Apple. Then, over time, I realized that I didn't need the silly plastic Blue Apple, just the packets of diatomaceous earth that you put in it. So, I buy packages of the Blue Apple replacement/refill packets. They work so much better, and I simply pop them in the produce drawers and inside of containers or bags in the fridge where I store excess root vegetables, apples and such. Oh, and in the salad spinner - once I've washed the lettuce, I store it in the bottom half of the spinner and store the lid. They absorb the ethylene gas 'locally'.

Here's how I use 'em in my salad spinner:

Now, my secret is out. I use those silly little plastic 'shower cap' covers on nearly everything in the fridge. They actually last a long time with just a rinse off and hang to dry. Yes, I know they're plastic, but I make 'em last such a long time. And, they cover every oddly shaped, overly full thing that you can imagine.

Let's get back to the third part of my strategy for keeping produce fresh. It's the bags. Sadly, the one that I've used for years is not longer available. Fortunately, I had quite a few spares and won't need to buy any for the rest of the year, or even longer. But, if I do, I'd try the Veggie Zips from Blue Apple, as they're very similar to what I've been buying.

Now, you have plenty of options to keep fresh food fresh longer, and save money. Nobody likes having to throw food out. But, let's circle back around to inventory management. I keep a post it note on the front of a kitchen cupboard door - and that's where I write down stuff that I need to buy. And, before I go to the store, I take a gander through the fridge. Including those drawers. But, I think going through all of the fresh produce weekly, when I come back from the grocery store, is essential. I refresh what needs refreshing. Sometimes it's as simple and pulling off a few leaves, or running it under some cold water.

There are also better ways to store some things than shoving them into that drawer. Like using glass containers and one of those silly plastic shower caps.

This is the way I store asparagus and bunches of herbs (parsley and cilantro, for example). Just like they were fresh flowers.

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